Where The Wolseley and Delaunay (part of the Corbin and King mini-empire) are effortlessly grand and ooze class, this was all a bit Disneyland. It was too shiny, too constructed, as if it had borrowed it’s facade from a plastic surgeon’s table. Harley Steet is only a short walk away, after all. Think Grand Budapest Hotel. The sort of place you find potty old women who look like Joan Rivers (god rest her) feeding their handbagged poodles with strudels from the sterling cutlery. The artwork is like something a rich foreign uncle you never knew you had, leaves you in his will, but you feel too guilty to ditch. The menu is strongly Germanic- Käsespätzle, Esterhazy Schnitten, Passion Fruit Gugelhupf- dishes that will cover anybody sitting around you in phlegm as you try to pronounce. They wouldn’t be out of place coming out of one of Professor Slughorn’s classes. But this being Marleybone, where the majority of the clientele grew up during the war, these dishes are no doubt old world classics, which slip off their tongue and please those fading palettes.

Himmel und Erde (£7.25) is black pudding and apple, a safe combination, but one that is sure to please. It could have done with a kick of spicing, but then that would give too much of a jolt. This is food that plays second fiddle to atmosphere and chat. You come here not to marvel over it, but to have something familiar and comforting. After discreetly getting our iPhones out to Google Käsespätzle (Austrian Mac & Cheese), we ordered it, and with the added bacon (£7.25) it was a wholesome heart clogger. A dish that sticks both fingers up to any diet. It had been given a flash under the grill to crisp the top, and the cheese was gooey and strong. All these trendy diners that serve gloopy crap, should take note.


Grilled spatchcock chicken (£16.50) was lathered in the herb dressing and far too greasy and the skin wasn’t crisp. Almost like chewing on one of the old biddy’s soon to be lifted jowls. The Wiener Schnitzel (£21.75)- the classic dish across the Corbin & King group- needs the the anchovy, capers and egg to stop it from being in Bernard Matthews land. But will hit the spot every time.

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For dessert, the Apple and Cinnamon strudel (£7.75) had a good flaky pastry and a strong hit of spicing. A sundae with pistachio, hazelnut and almond ice creams with butterscotch sauce is worthy an anaphylaxis fit.


It was a pleasant enough meal, but far from exciting. A posh Cafe Rogue. But when you are in your fifties and visiting places like La Fromargerie is a real thing, then pleasant is exactly what you’re looking for. Your taste-buds are dead by then, your sight is fading, and all you want is some good crockery and a place to read the paper. Fischer’s couldn’t suit the area more. I would go back, but in forty years time.

6/10 (£££)

50 Marylebone High St, London W1U 5HN

Fischer's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Dinner by Heston Blumenthal

There’s little else that can be said about Heston Blumenthal, other than he’s the man who in one lifetime has created snail porridge, the hidden orange Waitrose Christmas Pudding, and reconstructed Hansel and Gretel’s sweet house. With this place in food history, he can forgiven for rarely turning up to actually cook in his kitchen and for swanning off to Australia along with his fat duck for the last 6 months. Everyone is familiar with his brand of cooking and with his beaming bald head plastered on an increasing number of goods in our shopping aisles, which is probably why getting a seat in one of his restaurants is like trying to recreate one of his dishes at home. But, now that Dinner has been open for 4 years and there are hotter seats in town, the long waiting lists have eased off and you can get your arse on a seat within a month.

The dining room has views across Hyde Park, but take away the chef’s name above the door and the open window looking onto the rotisserie pineapples, and it is just another 5-star hotel’s dining room, catering for the moneyed elite– undisruptive, firmly masculine and a little bland. What lifts it is the mix of excited tourists, foodies and businessmen all enjoying their food together- snaps for Instagram, nods of appreciation, and million pound handshakes- all under the same roof. This all gives it a far livelier atmosphere than most other high end restaurants. The staff also help, as they made it feel like a special occasion despite it being a lunchtime, and were expertly versed on the dishes– something I can’t imagine is easy given hundreds of years of British cooking history has influenced the food.

The first thing you’ll notice is the lack of gasps coming from the neighbouring tables and looking around, whilst still beautiful, there is no real spectacle in the presentation of any of the dishes. There’s no gimmicks here, none of the sparks we’ve seen on his TV show or heard about at The Fat Duck. Instead, the menu came across as surprisingly simple. No long list of ingredients or techniques, no words you have to google the pronunciation of before ordering . Instead it was classic British ingredients cooked to the highest standard.

The Meat Fruit is the billboard dish here and is worthy of the hype. It quite simply is a perfect, smooth and rich chicken liver parfait, lifted by the fresh hit from the mandarin jelly that it has been dipped in to give it the look. Roast Marrowbone was another stunning dish with a deep earthy flavour from the snails and a creamy richness from the marrow, which is cut through by pickled vegetables. Not the easiest dish to eat, but a bloody tasty one. Savoury Porridge with crispy frogs legs had a vibrant green colour and an incredible fresh herby flavour.  IMG_9362



For mains the a Spiced Pigeon was beautifully pink and had a great flavour coming through from the blend of ale and spices. Hereford Ribeye was again perfectly cooked and had the original mushroom ketchup, something every young chef on Great British Menu seems eager to try their hand at these days. Unable to resist the urge, we shared Tipsy Cake which is an absolute must have. The pineapples which have been slowly caramelising on the incredibly elaborate spit roast are added to a warm buttery brioche that has been soaked in brandy- it is the most indulgent dessert I have ever tasted.

The meal was without the theatre I had expected, but the thought that has gone into these dishes, and the skill in their execution, makes up for the lack of drama. I almost feel it is a better dinner if you take the thought of Heston out of it. Go there expecting magic and you’ll be disappointed, go expecting the best British cooking in the world, and you’ll leave delighted.

9.5/10 (££££)

Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 66 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7LA

Dinner By Heston Blumenthal - Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Jinjuu describes itself as a ‘premier modern Korean food restaurant’ with an upstairs bar where DJ’s ‘hit the decks…spinning a mix of smooth house,’ and downstairs offers ‘unmatched theatre’. Hate it already? Any restaurant that has a self-publicised ‘concept’ is already fighting a losing battle. But then the promise of Korean junk food with a hit of Mexican surely can’t be bad. Spicy, sloppy finger food is a combination that is hard to resist. But here lies the problem. Fusion food- it never really works. Unless you’re a drunk student foraging through your cupboards at 4am trying to concoct a meal, fusing different cuisines rarely tastes as good as it sounds.

On the face of it, the menu here is appealing. It’s a more padded out version of Flesh & Buns, with a few Mexican inspired treats thrown into the mix. But this menu doesn’t really fit the vibe of the restaurant. It just isn’t as fun as Flesh & Buns. For one, the toilets aren’t plastered in anime porn. And it doesn’t have that raucous boozy buzz that makes you want to wash down greasy finger food with pints of Asahi. Jinjuu instead seems to be angling for a less wealthy Hakkasan crowd, who’d rather sip dainty cocktails. They even have a clipboard-holding doorman, just to complete the look.

Away from the overcrowded bar, the basement is a bit dull and the open kitchen is little more than an open hatch. The menu follows in the footsteps of the concept described on the website, and has to be the most annoying in London. Anecdotes comment on the dishes trying their best to coax you in- ‘bespoke’ prawn crackers are supposedly ‘awesome with a beer’, but worst of all is Carnitas Fries which promise that ‘everytime you stick your fork in…something good comes out’. It’s like having an annoying waiter trying to upsell everything. Which is fine if the food is brilliant, but for soggy, greasy fries which managed to taste neither Korean or Mexican, it’s a little off the mark.

The Pork belly tacos needed more apple and could have done with a big squeeze of lime and hit of spice. Korean fried chicken came with the choice of thighs or wings- and had a great crispy batter, but again were let down by the limp spicing from the two sauces, and I wanted more than a couples of bites for £8.5 as well. Sae Woo Pops (prawn cakes) were the pick of the dishes thanks to the creamy gochujang mayo that had a good salty sour flavour. If only all of the dishes could have come with this sauce.

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The beef sliders could have done with more Korean spicing, and I didn’t really get how these had any influence from Korea or Mexico, bar the kimchee topping. After eating them, I realised that kimchee manages to spoil every dish. I used to pretend I liked it, mainly because I didn’t know what it was. But now I realise that it really just tastes and looks like regurgitated stomach lining, which has no place on any dish of mine. From the bigger plates the USDA Prime Ribeye (£25) was tender and tasty enough, but there wasn’t any point in the bushel of flaccid lettuce leaves served as a side. A dessert of doughnuts stuffed with a Snickers like concoction was far better than any of the other dishes, mainly because it wasn’t trying to be Korean or Mexican, and instead just focused on being tasty.

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Jinjuu is trying very hard to be on-trend, but for a menu and concept that promised so much, it lacked any spunk. At it’s best Korean and Mexican food blows your balls of. This didn’t even give them an itch. Instead it was nothing other than a fusion of annoying anecdotes and overpriced junk food. You’re better of adding kimchee to a burrito next time you cook at home. It’ll save you the eighty quid.

5/10 (£££)

15 Kingly St, London W1B 5PS

Jinjuu Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato



Rupert Street- it’s not really Chinatown, not really Soho, not quite Piccadilly. Explaining where Palomar is, is a bit like trying to explain the menu. It’s modern Jerusalem food, which has a bit of Spanish, African, and Middle Eastern influences. There’s raw dishes, there’s comforting hearty dishes and there’s dishes with ingredients you’d never think of putting together- think beef with a blubbery madeira cake. Palomar manages to be entirely familiar and unexpected at the same time. And always brilliant.


The restaurant opened last year and has been packed ever since. There’s a small number of reservations in the back dining room (good luck getting one of them- you’ve got more chance at Dorsia). The best thing is to wait for a seat up at the bar overlooking the open kitchen. Unlike the calm order of Bocca Di Lupo or Barrafina, which share a similar design, Palomar has an infectious buzz. This is helped by the excellent staff, who will sing along to the Bee Gees and have a shot with you, and also by the simple and brilliant cocktail list that is far too easy to work your way through. There’s a real authentic passion here which shines in the cooking and service. It feels like the chefs or owners have grown up eating these dishes, and have just refined them a little. The menu is always fresh and exciting, but also feels so homely. You really can’t have a bad meal here.

To start things off some kubaneh (luckily the dishes come with descriptions)- a duvet of warm brioche-like bread served in its baking pot with tahini and a tomato dip to mop up. Then from the raw dishes the beetroot carpaccio had a clean fresh taste, and the beef tartare is the best I’ve had. There was a real zing to the flavour, and an added crunch from crispy Jerusalem artichokes.



What followed was a string of dishes that you wish weren’t designed to be shared. Butternut squash risotto was rich and creamy, with crispy sage leaves and crushed pistachios giving an added texture. Jerusalem Polenta was an indulgent blend of asparagus and parmesan with a hint of truffle oil. A pork belly tajine with apricots and ras el hanout was another comforting winner. Best of all was the Shakshukit- a deconstructed kebab- it was a sloppy delight- mopped clean with the pita. A Jerusalem Mess made up of lemon cream, almond crumble, strawberries, apple jelly and sorrel, is one of the most refreshing desserts I’ve ever eaten. A perfect end to the best meal this year.

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There are plenty of great small-plate restaurants in London, especially in Soho. Barrafina, Polpo and Bocca Di Lupo are the longstanding kings, but Palomar may well have taken their top spot. It is the most exciting food I can remember having in London. The staff are so good that every owner should take his waiters here so that they can see how it is done. A faultless meal, even if I have no idea how to describe what or where it was.

10/10 (£££)

34 Rupert St, London W1D 6DN

The Palomar Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato


Hotel Chantelle

I know, we’ll open a place that is hard to find, so that people Come To US because that’s so IN, and very New York. A back alley or somewhere would be perfect. Then we’ll find an Executive Chef, someone we assume everyone has heard of, like Seth Levine because he was the Gareth Gates of some reality cooking show, and we’ll tell him to design a menu made of concepts, not dishes, with crazy names and ingredients that should never go together. Then we’ll find the best looking staff, who clearly don’t eat, and train them on how to stand around bored on their iPhones, all while remembering to bob their fashionable haircuts to the DJ. We’ll price it so high that only London’s finest will come here, and spend huge amounts. That’s it, we’re onto a real winner here.

I once had a night in Rose Club (thankfully now dead and buried), where Hotel Chantelle is now housed above, and it was the worst night out I’ve had. Dragged there from a friend who was down for the weekend and wanted to experience the glam of a ‘proper London club’ that’s where we ended up, paying £20 for house vodkas, cramped into some little dull basement watching rich Arabs and Russians ply blondes with Grey Goose, and getting their photos taken with the sparklers. It was horrific. A VIP lounge full of non-VIP idiots hoping to get a glimpse of one. Hotel Chantelle has managed to attract the same crowd. So if Rose club is for you, no doubt you will love this place. Grace Dent must have been drunk or on their payroll to compliment anything at this restaurant.

The only way a restaurant like this can work is if it has an incredible buzz. I hate STK and Aqua, but they have a good vibe, even if it is a coked up Essex vibe. Here though, the restaurant is so poorly located, and so badly designed once you do get in, that there was no buzz at all. The bar area is nothing more than a few bar stools, and there were empty tables throughout, despite it being 8pm on a weekend. This all makes the DJ even more pointless, as he’s blasting tacky House tunes to a half full restaurant. The interior designer has clearly been told to take their inspiration from brothels, and with the dim red lighting and row of blondes lining the bar waiting to be picked up, at least they’ve got something right.

The menu is an Instagrammers wet dream. The dessert menu even had the Instagram logo on. Any restaurant with that deserves it’s own special place in hell. It’s all concepts. Dishes that sound like they’ve been created by a hallucinating crack whore. Dishes you will cringe and hate yourself for ordering. Try ‘When Pigs Fly’ and ‘The Mad Lobster’. And then there’s the prices. Before I really start to whinge, let me tell you, that I am happy to pay over £100 a head if the restaurant deserves it. Now that can be a taster menu at a Michelin starred restaurant, or paying for the overall experience like at Scott’s or Zuma. Here starters begin at £11 and quickly get towards £20. Main’s range from the mid 20s to £100 for a steak for 2. No side dishes are included. Wine starts at £10 a glass and cocktails are £12.

The only reason I can think of why it is so expensive is to pay for the number of staff. I counted 18 on the floor, that’s not including the chefs, and there couldn’t have been more than 60 people in the restaurant. They all congregated by the DJ booth, half of them on their iPhones (the only excuse I can find for this is that it it has something to do with the ordering system?). There’s also a photographer who takes photos of everything except the empty tables. The waiters did try their best to justify the 15% service charge, but they were just no good at it. Everything you order is stamped with their seal of approval. I’d have liked to order a glass of piss, just to see if he told me again ‘Great choice Sir’.

So let’s get to the disaster of a meal. A car crash would have tasted better. First up, three stale pieces of bread with unsalted butter. I’ve had better, more imaginative bread in an aeroplane meal. For starters, my ‘When Pigs Fly’ was four flavourless strips of Iberico ham (think Tesco wafer thin ham without the flavour) hanging from pegs on a clothes line, with four dry crostins with a tiny slither of pickled melon on. Flavourless crap. Oh, and it was £17. A Tuna Tartare Cigar (£11) tasted worse than a real cigar would. The taco shell was like biting plastic, and the tuna had no seasoning, not even a squeeze of lime. The wasabi managed to not be fiery at all and yet still completely overpowered any other flavour in the dish. Chicken Waffles weren’t waffles. They were a poor-man’s Chicken McNugget with a stick wedged through it, wrapped in maple syrup candy floss. Why? Well, I don’t think even the chefs have an answer to that one. £14 for three chicken nuggets. Just imagine how many you’d get at the Golden Arches for that.


Mains managed to get worse. At £32 the rack of lamb was cooked well, but came with an incredibly sweet sauce that was laced with far too much cinnamon and rocks of sugar, making it really unpleasant to eat. It of course had truffle, this time in the form of honey, which was unidentifiable in the wash of cinnamon. Practically every dish here has some form of shaved truffle. I’m sure even the waiters wear eau du truffle, just to give the impression of luxury. A Drunken Chicken Parmesan (£25) was the worse dish of the night. The only thing drunk was the chef who served this. I wish I had the balls to send food back, because this would have disappointed if I’d bought it from the Sainsbury’s Basics range. One large flattened breaded chicken, a drizzle of dull pesto and a covering of rubbery cheese. All this made the breadcrumbs soggy. Most of it was left uneaten. And of course, even at that price, the fries (sorry, Pommes Frites- the pretentious tossers) come at £6 extra.


My Iberico Pork was the best dish of the night, but not without a series of faults. Firstly it was overcooked. Pork like this should come pink, not a dull grey colour. And whilst there was a good amount of meat, it was again ruined by an incredibly sweet sauce, and also by the inedible chunks of  apple and bacon glass brittle glued to the plate. It was like a solidified super glue- hardly what you want with a £29 main course. We braved dessert, just because at £8 it was by far the cheapest dish of the night. Donuts with a trio of sugary dips- raspberry, dark chocolate and the stuff they put in Dime bars. Well it was alright. Well done, you got something half right.

At over £80 per head with just 1 drink each, this has to be the most overpriced, waste-of-money restaurant in London. I hate STK and Aqua, and Nobu isn’t much better. But at least their food is decent. This place is just all surface, and not a very attractive one at that. It feels like the reject list, where those not good looking enough for the real showy restaurants are sent to. Whoever owns this is laughing at all of us morons who are buying into it. But then again, there are so many morons who get off on this crap. As I was hurrying for the exit, two polished pretty boys who had come for the bar, commented on how good the food menu looked. Well, if that’s you, go and enjoy yourself down your little dingy back alley. The rest of London is better off without you. None of this is an exaggeration. Don’t go. It is without a doubt the worst meal I have ever paid for.

1/10 (££££)

Dingy back alley near Selfridges,W1H 6HL
Hotel Chantelle Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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The Quality Chop House

When you’re packed on a rush hour London tube, your nose guzzled into a armpit, how often is it the armpit of a Londoner? Or even a Brit? It’s the same when you’re walking down any London high-street- you pass Mexican, Spanish, Afghan restaurants and even cross-bred mongrels like Korean-Mexican and Brazilian sushi. But if it’s just some classic British scran you’re after, you’ll struggle to find anywhere other than your local dingy boozer with it’s beige pie and chips and beige sausage and mash. True British classics. The same old flavourless crap that tastes just as dull in any pub in any part of the country. That’s unless you go to one of those artisan gastro-bollocks pubs. But don’t get me started on them.

British food just isn’t very exciting, and so it has been pushed to the margins of our tastes. Not often do we fancy going out for some meat, stodge and veg. Even at it’s most adventurous, British food isn’t hip anymore. The nose-to-tail eating of St. John has been replicated everywhere. All restaurants use the previously unfashionable cheaper cuts, and the innards of animals. Even Tesco has started using horsemeat. So we venture to other corners of the globe to excite our palettes. And then we inevitably adopt these dishes as our own- give them the good old Tikka Masala or Lemon Chicken treatment and extract any colour or excitment from them, so that the once lively Thai green curry is transformed into a tepid pot of beige British piss on every pub menu in the country.

In all of this we have forgotten just how good British food can be. Forgotten that we have some of the best beef and lamb in the world. And with ingredients this good, you don’t need some Escoffier-versed French tosser to knock up some good grub. You just need a chef who understands and respects the ingredients. Heat, season and serve. Little else is needed. This is where The Quality Chop House comes into the equation (perhaps doing its chefs a slight injustice there).

Around the corner from the foodie-haven of Exmouth Market, The Quality Chop House is a warm little dining room inside a listed building from 1869. All very impressive, but it’s the food we really care about. We chose the set menu (great value at £44 for 5 courses)- which thankfully lists ingredients rather than any pointless techniques. First up was a selection of nice, but slightly needless ‘finger food’ nibbles- sweetcorn lathered in marmite butter, goat’s curd with tomato on toast, truffled potato croquette with aioli, and a bite of salmon mousse wrapped in cucumber- which all seemed a bit foreign on the menu and didn’t really represent the style of the cooking to come.


Things quickly got into more familiar ground- the daily catch was a white fish served with peas and a thin slither of lardo melted on top- simple and perfect. As was the the partridge served with celeriac and Tropea onion- the only thing to let it down was the cold plate and long wait for the dish.

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Hereford beef for main came as both a Denver cut and as brisket with a rich gravy sauce sitting on top of creamy polenta. I’d have eaten a cauldron full of this stuff. The Barnsley chop was perfectly cooked and didn’t much else to make it a great dish. A side of confit potatoes would make it into my last supper, and broccoli with flaked almonds was a needed crunch. To finish things off a light olive oil and pistachio cake with lemon curd and meringue was tangy and refreshing- I’d have wolfed a Sticky Toffee or a crumble, but after a meaty meal, it was probably what my waistline needed.


It was hard to fault the meal. It made me remember just how good British food can be, and done well, just how much better it can be than most other cuisines. It’s a shame that there aren’t more restaurants like this, because although we might say we can cook this type of food at home, we never do. We’ll never go out and source the good ingredients, or get the quality meat from our butchers. We just Click & Deliver on Tesco and get some steroid fed rubber chicken that dissolves in the pan. Go here and you might get some faith back in British cooking and ingredients. I certainly did. It was one of the most fulfilling dinners I’ve had this year. It delivered on everything I expected, and with a menu that changes daily, it won’t be long before I’m back.

9/10  (£££)

88-94 Farringdon Road, EC1R 3EA
The Quality Chop House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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Tapas Brindisa

There are few things better in this world than pan con tomate. Few things more simple. Bread with tomato. No fancy cooking techniques, no long list stating the provenance of all the ingredients. Yet it’s a dish that so many restaurants get wrong. Often the bread is soggy having stood pre-prepped hours before service, or they aren’t brave enough with that rub of garlic, or there’s big chunks of tomato rather than the finer pulp spread across the bread. Recently a Spanish restaurant presented me with a full tomato, a slice of toast, an unpeeled garlic clover and olive oil. DIY pan con tomate. The lazy bastard of a chef must have been on his siesta. Needless to say the rest of the meal was just as disappointing. A good pan con tomate to start a meal off makes a big promise. It shows a confidence from the kitchen that they will let the ingredients do the talking, and at Brindisa they get it spot on. What followed was ingredients put together, rather than dishes- Spanish cooking at its best. Padron peppers with salt. Summer vegetables with chorizo and a duck egg. Prawns with crispy garlic and a fiery kick of chilli. Pork fillet served pink with sweet peppers and some chorizo oil.



All Spanish restaurants know what to do with a potato and here the chorizo tortilla was as good as any. But the Huevos Rotos was the star of the show. If ever a dish was designed to soak up last night’s booze then this is it. It’s the hair-of-the-dog of dishes. So good that you’re ordering an Estrella half way through it. Served in a small pan the slices of potato are glued together with the rich egg yolk and have a lick of salt and colour from the chorizo. Offered this or Kendall Jenner as a last dish to feast on before I die, and I’d probably take this.


Brindisa has a lot of competition- not only for Spanish restaurants in London- but set on the corner of Borough Market, you only have to walk five yards to get stuck into a a range of cheap lunches. But it continues to hold it’s own. It’s not quite as adventurous or refined as Barrafina or those in the Salt Yard Group- but for it’s sheer simplicity, it remains my favourite spot for a weekend lunch.


18-20 Southwark Street London SE1 1TJ
Tapas Brindisa Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato
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